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Collapse at Pekin Township building forces a full demolition

Crews work to demolish the west half of the Pekin Township Office building at 418-420 Elizabeth Street on Friday morning in downtown Pekin.
Joe Deacon
Crews work to demolish the west half of the Pekin Township Office building at 418-420 Elizabeth Street on Friday morning in downtown Pekin.

A full demolition is underway on the entire west half of the Pekin Township Office building, following a second partial collapse of the structure Thursday afternoon.

The two-address facility at 418-420 Elizabeth Street experienced an initial partial collapse of its west wall on Wednesday.

Nic Maquet, Chief Building Official for the City of Pekin, said Friday that crews from JIMAX were clearing debris from the 418 side when the second collapse occurred.

“As demolition was proceeding, the south-facing wall on the 418 side bulged out to the back,” Maquet said. “The demo contractor tried to stabilize it, and then that wall abruptly just collapsed into the power lines, which then pulled all the power lines down through downtown.”

The downed lines left about 600 Ameren customers without electricity for several hours. Maquet said most of the downtown power was restored by 8 p.m., and the company said all power was restored by 4 a.m. Friday.

Following the initial collapse, township supervisor Shannon Saal had hoped to have the entire facility repaired and back open by the end of next week. But that won’t be possible now.

“Yesterday afternoon changed a lot,” Saal said Friday as she watched the ongoing demolition from the parking lot across Elizabeth Street. “We had an emergency board meeting and basically, we're going to have to take down the whole 418 side. As far as the 420 side goes, that's going to be pending structural engineer.

“Right now, I'm just waiting to see what the city building inspector’s going to say and the structural engineer. That's what we're waiting on.”

Saal said the 418 side, a former Advanced Medical Transport garage space, just had fresh painting done within the past month. She said that side had a food pantry, a washer and dryer, and storage space, while the office desks were all on the 420 side.

Maquet said the remaining portion of the building is currently deemed uninhabitable and will need to be confirmed as stable before anyone is allowed back in.

“We're requiring a structural engineer to come in and assess the structural stability of the 420 side, and then if any issues are found, repairs will have to be made before occupancy is given to the 420 side,” he said.

Neither Maquet or Saal had any estimate yet on how long the demolition and the structural assessment may take, or how much the demolition and any possible repairs might cost.

Maquet said road closures on Elizabeth, Broadway, 4th and 5th streets will continue until the demolition is complete. He said one challenge is limiting debris from falling onto the adjacent Smith & Weer law office at 410 Elizabeth.

“That's a tough one. It's within a foot on the side of the building, and currently part of the 418 is leaning against the structure next door,” he said. “They're doing the best they can to keep the damage minimal.”

Saal said there trying to avoid any interruption in township services.

“Actually, we're working from here,” she said. “I actually have a general assistance appointment here, and I have some food and sweets in my back of my van. So we're still up and running here in the parking lot.”

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.